The country's top religious affairs official has pledged to
continue support for the printing and publication of the
Bible, even as the religious text here hit a milestone of
50 million copies published.
"The country respects and protects religious freedom," said Ye
Xiaowen, head of the State Administration for Religious
"And China has become one of the countries publishing the
largest number of Bibles in the world."
Ye made the remarks at a ceremony to mark the publication of the
country's 50 millionth complete Bible by the Amity
Printing Company over the weekend in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu
About 43 million copies of the Bible have been made for
believers on the Chinese mainland, with copies in Braille and eight
The remaining 7 million were exported to more 60 countries and
regions, mainly through a joint venture with the United Bible
Societies (UBS) established in 1988.
The accomplishment of 50 million Bibles is a major
milestone in Bible publication in China, which satisfies
the nationwide demand including those of the remote rural areas,
UBS general secretary Rev Miller Milloy said at the ceremony.
About 3 million copies of Bible have been rolling off
the press annually in recent years, which forms the largest annual
production by any Christian group, said the organization.
Amity Foundation, the only one authorized in China to print the
Bible, said there are 74 sales offices set up throughout
the country for distributing the text.
"The printing company not only produces Bibles for
Christians, it also donates its earnings to charity," said Bishop
Kuang-hsun Ting, chair of the board of the Amity Foundation.
Official statistics show that there were 16 million Christians
in China by 1997 and the number is said to be growing, said Cao
Shengjie, president of China Christian Council. The country also
has 18 theological schools, with about 1,800 students.
Ye gave the assurance at the ceremony that Chinese religious
groups will provide help and service, including giving copies of
the Bible to overseas athletes and tourists, during the Beijing Olympics 2008.
"The Amity Printing Company is well prepared to provide
assistance to print copies of the Bible for the Beijing
Olympic Games in 2008," said Zhang Liwei, deputy secretary-general
of the Amity Foundation.
Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media center, also
said earlier that a religious service center will be set up in the
Olympic Village to offer services to Christians, Catholics,
Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and followers of other religions
(China Daily, December 10, 2007)